The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Friday, 07 September 2007]

The suspension of disbelief

Nic explains why he has a hard time dealing with super hero movies and the ways his brain lets him down.

Super hero movies are troublesome for me. I used to love super hero comics when I was a little boy, and devoured stuff like Batman and Spiderman. But then I grew pubic hairs and realized that my reading skills were good enough that I didn’t need drawings anymore. So that was the end of the super hero comic for me.

But for some reason a lot of grown men seem to think that transferring those comics to the silver screen is a great idea. A fantastic, coke-fueled, brilliant, genius! idea.

The problem with super hero movies for me, I think, is that comics (sorry, graphic novels, snigger) and movies are such different media that what works in one simply doesn’t translate to the other. The biggest problem is the universe that you have to buy into. In a comic book, it makes total sense that a part-time crime fighter has a cave under his house where he stores his wicked-cool car and his rubber suit with nipples. Comic books have their own rules and the suspension of reality is huge. In a movie, the same setup makes at least my tiny brain go, “Really? A rubber suit with nipples? In a cave under your house? Really? That’s how you roll, huh?”

So it can be really hard to get the suspension of disbelief factor working.

At the same time it’s funny just how silly the things can be that pull you out of the universe the movie is creating. I was reminded of this the other night watching X-Men 3: The Last Stand.

The concept itself is pretty special ed: Some people are mutants and they have weird and wonderful powers. Okay. And some of them choose to hang out in a mutant haven that’s cunningly disguised as a K-12 school. All right. Why not? And some other mutants are all angry at not being allowed to get their mutant freak on and have a secret hideaway somewhere and mostly hatch cunning and involved plots that always somehow involve the other mutants. Again, okay, I guess.

And the mutants in the K-12 school call themselves the X-Men and have groovy costumes with the letter X worked in wherever possible. I’m getting a migraine now, but sure, let’s roll with that.

And the powers these mutants have! There’s the guy who can control and create magnetic fields. Okay. The guy who can turn anything into ice. Right. The woman who can look and sound like anybody. Sure. Handy, that. The guy whose eyes shoot raw energy unless he wears sunglasses. Ehm. Okey-dokey. The guy who can control anybody’s mind. Right on. The woman who can control the weather. Still not sure why her irises turn white when she does that, but whatever. Right on with the weather. I could sure use some rain here.

And it goes on and on. Including the poor slob whose mutant power is to have hedgehog spines coming out of his head. Man, wouldn’t that just piss you off at the mutant meetings? Everybody else is like, “I shoot fire,” “I am unstoppable,” “I levitate thing with my mind.” And you have to go, “I can make these spines come out. Pretty fierce, huh? Guys? Come on, you promised not to laugh.”

But back to the movie. All these different kinds of mutants have been introduced, and I’m still in the suspension of disbelief zone and grooving on the story, and then they introduce this mutant whose power is to have little pieces of wood come out of his arms that he can throw. And the little voice in my head goes, What about conservation of mass? He’s extruding those things and he’s not getting smaller. Shouldn’t he have to eat a ton to replace all the body mass generating those things cost?

And that movie ends right there for me.

Like for my brain that just tilted the lever and the movie has now become absurd.

Silly brain.

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